I love the idea of making a bed sheet dress! You can use vintage sheets- which is a great way to save money AND use recycled fabric. Plus you can find really fun patterned fabrics. I’m using a Liberty of London print- which would be very expensive to buy. PLUS it has trim on the flat sheet and pillow cases that I can use on the dress!
how to make a bed sheet dress
Let’s start with the video tutorial so you get an overview on what I did. Then, I’ll dive in with more details below:
If the video doesn’t work here, you can watch it on YouTube here. It’d mean so much if you’d watch the video! I’m trying to get better at my video skills so I can grow my YouTube channel. If you have a few minutes to watch this and/or subscribe, I’d so appreciate it.
- Sheet Set- Isabel Liberty of London Vintage sheets (I got a set in full size)
- Dress Pattern- McCalls M7948
- Collar Pattern– Sailor
- Flower Trim– 5 yards (trim for the sleeves, skirt, and collar)
- Pom Trim– 2 yards (trim for the collar edge)
- Matching Thread
- Sewing Machine
- Scissors for Sewing
- Sewing Marking Pen
- Rotary Knife
- Rotary Mat and Acrylic Ruler
- Soft Measuring tape
- Magnetic Pin Cushion
- Seam Ripper
- Sewing Gauge
how much yardage is a bed sheet?
Before beginning this project, it’s good to know what size sheet to buy. For a short length dress, the smallest size I’d suggest is a flat twin sheet. Note a flat sheet has more fabric than a fitted sheet and is easier to work with. Why? There’s elastic to make the sheet fitted and the corners are sewn.
I put the yardage below of each size of flat sheet so it’s easy to know which size to buy. When using a pattern, the back of the pattern will say how much yards of fabric is needed for the size of dress that’s being sewn. Match that to the amounts below and you can see which size of sheet will work for making your project.
Another thing to consider when working with vintage sheets is wear. Look over the sheets throughly to look for holes, piling, or fading from use. Usually, the fitted sheet will show more signs of wear so that’s another reason why using a flat sheet is preferred.
step 1- prep the sheets for use
Despite the fact that I didn’t really recommend it, I’ll be using the fitted sheet and two pillow cases for this project. The flat sheet I’m saving to use for picnics. That way I can have a matching dress to the picnic sheet- so cute! Plus, I think a sheet is perfect for throwing in the car for spontaneous adventures in the summer.
To prep the a fitted sheet to use as fabric for a bed sheet dress, begin by un-picking the elastic so it can be removed. Then, use a seam ripper to open the corners so that the fabric can lay flat.
The flat sheets and the pillowcases on my set have the cutest ruffle trim. To remove the trim so I can use it on the dress, I used a seam ripper.
For the last prep step, I used scissors to cut out the seams on the pillowcases. Using a seam ripper would also work. But by this point I’d been seam ripping for awhile and was ready to move onto the next step.
If you’re looking for cute sheets for a project like this, I rounded up a bunch that’d work perfectly. Just click on the picture below to shop!
step 2- cut out pattern pieces
Now that the sheets are prepped, let’s cut out the pattern pieces to make the dress!
First, I cut out the pieces for the collar- a front and a back out of one of the pillow cases. When choosing where to cut, make sure the lapels are on pretty spots.
I’m using this Collar Pattern with the sailor pattern. I’ll briefly share how I make the collar in this post. If you’re interested in a more in-depth tutorial, I have a whole blog post on making ruffled collars.
On the other pillow case, I cut out two sleeves. I positioned the pattern on a place with pretty flowers so they can be showcased on the sleeves. For this project, I’m using the Dress Pattern- McCalls M7948. I’ll be somewhat going by the pattern, but will note any changes I make.
Next, I cut out the front and back of the bodice. Before cutting these pieces, I cut the neck of the pattern to be a little bigger. The pattern calls for a slit in the back and a button. I don’t like buttons in the back because my hair gets wrapped around it. Instead, I prefer a slightly bigger head hold so I can slip it over my head.
Next, I cut out 4 pocket pieces that’ll make up a pocket for each side of the dress.
For the front of the collar, I’m thinking that I’ll add a little bow. For that, I cut out a 5″x9″ rectangle and a 1″x3″ rectangle.
The last thing I need to cut out is the front and back of the skirt. For that, I don’t use a pattern. Instead, I cut two pieces out to be 44″ wide. For me, that makes a nicely gathered skirt. To decide the length, I measure from where the bodice will connect down to where I want the skirt to hit.
Usually, when the skirt hits above my knee, I go for 24″ long. For this project, I want to do a midi length so I decided that 34″ long would work nicely. So I cut out two pieces of 44″ wide x 34″ long pieces of fabric.
With that, all of the pieces are cut for the bed sheet dress!
On the raw edges on the skirt, bodice, sleeves, and pockets, I serged them with an overlocking machine. This finishes them so they don’t fray. If you don’t have this machine, using a zig zag stitch or pinking sheers also works nicely.
step 3- sew the bodice and collar
And now, take the bodice front and back and pin them together.
Then, take the bodice to the sewing machine. Sew up the side seams and the shoulder seams.
Now, let’s make the collar that’ll attach to the bodice! Begin by pinning the ruffle trim onto the collar piece. Place the collar face up on a table. Then put the trim right side down on top of the collar fabric. Pin those together.
Then, take the liner fabric and put it right side down on top of the other fabric and the ruffle. Pin all three layers together.
Take the collar to the sewing machine and sew most of the way around the perimeter. The pattern shows two divets in the neck line- that’s where the sewing should be started and stop.
Turn the collar right side out with the trim coming out the side of the collar. Choose which side you like best to be the top.
Iron the collar flat. Also make sure to iron the flap closed inside the neck. I didn’t bother sewing mine closed yet. That’ll happen on the next step when the collar is attached to the bodice of the dress.
Once I’m happy with the collar, I pin it onto the bodice of the dress. Then, I sew it onto the bodice.
To make it extra adorable, I finished the collar by sewing daisy trim around the edge of the collar. While sewing, I just eye-balled where the trim would go- about 1/2″ in from the edge of the collar.
View this post on Instagram
My inspiration for this project is a vintage little girl’s dress- lol. On the collar of that dress is a little bow so I thought I’d try that for myself. To make that, I first folded the right sides together hot dog style (aka long ways) and sew a 1/4″ seam.
Next, turn the right sides out, A safety pin helps to quickly do this.
Iron the rectangle flat so the seam is in the middle.
Fold it in 1/3’s. Hand stitch the end over.
Sew in the middle to make the bow shape.
Iron the middle piece in 1/3’s hot dog style (aka long ways).
Put the middle piece over the center of the bow. Hand stitch it into place.
Last, hand stitch the bow onto the dress.
step 4- sew the sleeves
To start on the sleeves, first sew an easement stitch on the upper edge of the sleeve between the small circles. What that means is to sew a gathering stitch on the top arch of the sleeve.
Once that’s complete, pull the gathering stitches to create a little puff sleeve. Cute and pretty quick!
Next, stitch the sleeve seam closed. And hem the bottom of the sleeve.
To elongate and decorate the sleeve, I wanted to add a piece of ruffle from the pillow cases. To begin, I folded over the edge of the trim and sewed it.
Next, I sewed the ruffle inside of the sleeve.
I didn’t like seeing the double stitch on the sleeve from the hem and the added ruffle, so I stitched on some of the daisy trim. This is a VERY cute detail and absolutely worth the extra time!
Now I’m attaching the sleeve to the bodice. To do that, put the right sides together. Then pin the sleeve into the armhole. The large circle lines up with the shoulder seam. Adjust the ease (the gathering stitch at the shoulder) so the sleeve fits perfectly within the armhole. It’s best to trim the strings from the gathering stitch at this point for a clean finished product.
Stitch the sleeve into the armhole. To make it as strong as possible, stitch again 1/4″ away in seam allowance.
Turn the sleeves right sides out. Now I can see how the whole bodice looks- isn’t it so cute?! I’m very happy with how it’s coming together!
step 5- sew the skirt
Next, it’s time to stitch the skirt together. Pin the pockets in place- put the pretty side of the skirt with the pretty side of the pocket. The pockets should be lined up with the top of the skirt.
Sew the pockets onto the side of the skirt. For this step, just sew the flat side of the pocket to the skirt. Repeat 4 times.
Next, gather the top of the skirt. I like a nice full skirt, but gathering can be a little tedious. To gather, first sew on a gathering stitch to the top of the skirt. Increase the stitch length to 5 (instead of the normal 2.5). Leave long long tails of string at the start and end of the gathering stitch. And don’t backstitch. Sew two parallel lines at the top of the skirt.
Once the gathering stitch is created, mark the center of the skirt. Then, put a measuring tape on the top of a table with the same width as the bodice. Pull on the front two strings with one hand. With the other hand, start moving the fabric over so that it gathers. Keep gathering until the skirt is the the same width as the measuring tape. Make sure the gathers are uniform.
Once the skirt is gathered to the right measurement, take it to the sewing machine. Then sew around the gathers to hold them in place.
Now that the skirt is gathered, it’s time to sew the skirt up. To do that, first pin the sides of the skirt together.
Next, sew the sides of the skirt together. To finish the pockets, sew down the pocket 4″ and then go around the pocket, up the bottom of the pocket 1″, then sew down the skirt.
Fold over the bottom of the skirt and iron it to create a hem.
Take the skirt to the sewing machine and sew the hem in place.
Then, to make the skirt match the sleeves, sew the trim under the hem of the skirt.
Last, stitch some daisy trim where the hem and ruffle stitch is to cover those and make the skirt super cute.
step 6- attach the skirt to the bodice
For the last step for finishing the bed sheet dress, pin the skirt into the bodice. I started pinning at each side. Then I found the middle of the bodice and skirt and pinned those together. Then I worked my way out with pins.
Once the skirt is pinned to the bodice, sew them together. Stitch again around the skirt 1/4″ away.
reveal- bed sheet dress
And here’s my finished bed sheet dress- OMG I love it so much!
Turns out, when you make a dress from a sheet it’s wildly comfortable. It feels like pajamas and I’m really into that!
I think my favorite detail on this dress is the trim. For the sleeves and bottom, I used the trim from the sheets and it’s so big and fun! I love it. Then the daisy trim everywhere with the delicate trim on the collar. It feels really special.
I’m excited that I finished the dress in time to go to Paris in a few weeks! I’ll be bringing it there. I’m thinking of filming a YouTube video about my trip. Would that be something you’d be interested in? Maybe a blog post? What would you be interested in seeing from that trip?
The biggest expense with this project is the sheets- which cost $24.30 shipped. It’d be much more affordable to buy sheets from a thrift shop- so keep a look out for those when thrifting! Still, I think $24 in fabric and trim is not bad at all- especially for a Liberty of London print (which sells for $40 a yard at my fabric shop).
I also spend $7.19 in trim for the collar and $7.47 in the daisy flower trim for the sleeves, collar, and skirt. I used a pattern I had on hand so that saved some money.
Total cost for this dress- $38.96
I hope you like this post on my DIY bed sheet dress! I love making dresses from home decor items- I’ve made one from a quilt and a tablecloth– lol. What do you think of this project? Do you have any questions? I’d love to hear your thoughts!
This post contains some affiliate links for your convenience. Click here to read my full disclosure policy.
If you love it, pin it!